Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Trans Rights Group Announces Lawsuit Over Refusal to Correct Birth Certificates

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 21, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: birth certificates, gender identity, Michael Silverman, New York City, NYC, TLDEF, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) will hold a press conference on Tuesday, March 22, at the New York State Supreme Court in lower Manhattan to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the City of New York and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene challenging the city's practice of requiring transgender people to undergo surgery before it will issue them birth certificates with corrected sex designations.

This is the first lawsuit to challenge a surgical requirement for correcting whether someone is classified as "male" or "female" on a birth certificate. It alleges that the city's surgical requirement is arbitrary, and that it subjects transgender people to harassment and discrimination in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.

More details and comments after the jump.

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, March 22, 11:00 am

WHERE: Foley Square, Manhattan (across the street from the New York County Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street)

WHO: Plaintiffs Sam Berkley, Joann Prinzivalli, and Patricia Harrington; Noah Lewis, Staff Attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

WHY: The vast majority of transgender people have not undergone the extensive surgical procedures demanded by the City before it will change the sex designation on birth certificates. Most cannot afford these procedures, and for many, they are medically inappropriate. "A birth certificate is a fundamental form of identification," said Noah Lewis, staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs. "By refusing to give transgender people accurate birth certificates that reflect who they are, the city subjects transgender people to harassment and discrimination in areas like employment where ID is essential to proving eligibility to work." "Proper ID is essential for full participation in society," added Mr. Lewis. "As long as the city discriminates against transgender people by denying them accurate ID, transgender people will continue to be pushed to the margins of society."

The above press release from TLDEF is interesting not only because of the novelty of the grounds for the lawsuit, but also because it follows on an effort a few years ago to address this via a commission of experts organized by the city. The experts decided, based on the available scientific evidence, to permit the change in birth certificates prior to any surgery. The City was set to put this procedure into place.

When the press got hold of this, and started yammering about "men in dresses", however, the pressure came down on the New York City Board of Health, which unanimously voted to reject the recommendations of their own experts, and the whole report was put in the garbage can.

I think this is one more instance of the maxim that human rights should never be put up for a vote. Don't you agree?


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There is a lot of arbitrary law. The drinking age is one example. The driving age is another. Society says "it isn't perfect but this is how we will operate". Be careful about what you ask for because the solution may not be one that is more palatable. I can see the imposition of chromosome testing as a reaction and then even surgeries won't matter.

TLDEF will have a huge advantage to cite the defendant's own experts' analysis.

PATIENTS: A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis. -- J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9
I think genetic testing before marriage would be wonderful. Fully 1 in 300 males don't have 46XY chromosomes, and that would really put the cat amongst the pidgeons.

And of course it should all be public record, including Australian results. The point was that a solution is not always the result sought by those seeking relief. For example one possible solution is that if you have functioning ovaries you are a woman and everyone else is considered legally a man. Or the reverse. Pick your poison. No solution will satisfy everyone.

I love it, functioning ovaries as the requirement!!!

And then mandatory Birth Certificate correction every time a woman has a hysteretomy. Think about all those Republican married gay couples when this occurs;o)

See, unintended consequences. These things can quickly get absurd. So if you have neither functioning ovaries nor functioning testicles then you get a BC that says N for neither.

It can't be on the public record, that would contravene existing laws about protection of Health Data, and also Genetic Information in the USA.

In Australia, likewise. It took me a lot of effort to get a hard copy of the medical records stating that I'd been diagnosed with "severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman" in 2005, and I have to rely on a redacted copy of a doctor's handwritten notes that the diagnosis was "undervirilised male syndrome" in 1985.

I can, just about, prove that I'm biologically female (more female than male, anyway). Proving that I was ever anything else - not sure I can.

Zoe this isn't about you. This is about laws and regulations being challenged. My point is that when change is demanded there can be many outcomes and sometimes the situation can end up worse for those seeking the change than what existed before the change.

For example, with enough uproar over this issue the state I live in just might pass reactive legislation that removes the right to have state issued ID such as a drivers license changed. As it exists today a change of the sex marker on the DL requires proof of surgery in Florida. With the legislature and governor being right wing Republicans I can easily see that "current situation" altered or revoked.

My position has been for quite some time that no sex markers should even be on birth certificates or any other documents. Race used to be on the BC and other governmental issued ID's but has long since been removed as discriminatory and unnecessary to societal functioning. I doubt, however, that my preference will prevail anytime soon and I can live with that.

As a practical matter I do not carry my BC around nor do I show my DL to anyone unless required for something like proof of age to buy alcohol or a traffic violation. I have known people who are so insecure that they will whip out a DL at the drop of an offending pronoun and stick it in someone's face. I have witnessed others who will go to great lengths to make sure everyone knows that they are "not like those others" because they have some specific complex biology. Frankly I don't think the vast majority of society gives a damn. My experience has been that most real life interactions operate at the perception level or what I like to think of as vibes. I doubt human nature will ever change in that regard.

Deena - to people who want to remove Trans rights, surgery is irrelevant. They don't need the excuse of "uproar" either. You seem to think that trying to remain invisible is a viable strategy.

It was in the 70's. Not now. Intersexed people have found that out, as our rights have steadily been eroded over that period.

These bigots don't care who they hurt, "true transsexuals", intersexed people, transgendered genderqueers, or even just women not pretty enough - look at the cases of cis-women arrested for "suspected prostitution" simply because they looked too masculine (and "everyone knows" that all trans women do sex work, no exceptions), then put in male jails until bailed.

They. Do. Not. Care.

Zoe I can agree with most of what you just stated except for your presumption to know what I think about invisibility. Even a junior rocket scientist should know the fallacy in such an assertion. Invisibility has zero to do with unintended consequences resulting from well intended efforts to change existing regulations and laws. The upside of efforts to change can be wonderful but often people forget to consider the downside. The recent elections in Wisconsin provide an excellent example of miscalculations. Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and 20 other states provide more examples and certainly there must be a few in Australia.

Now let's put this all in a real personal perspective where you are concerned. You marshal facts and evidence and press the intersex advocacy far enough until the various legislative and regulatory bodies concede your case and agree that you are neither male nor female. At that point the only viable option is to create another sex marker such as N for neither or maybe just a question mark instead of an F or M on your documentation. I doubt you would be happy with that result but it is certainly a possibility. Society would be conceding your point and saying "we don't know what you are". You might not be happy but how could you disagree? BTW, is the viscous rumor about you fathering a child true? Just curious.

I think someone should be allowed to change drivers licenses etc.. Before surgery so it doesn't create hardships in employment applications or harassment by officials like police etc. However i think BC changes should only be allowed when surgery has taken place.
I think it is only fair to society who are of the binary mentality and unlikely to change their views because some says my gender in between my ears and not my legs. To most what is between the legs define societies view of gender markers.. The exception are those born I/S. They should have a free hand in self determination IMHO. But would have to provide medical evidence from their youth or Doctor. I know i am out side the quote unquote liberal thinking on this. But I think progress is made by one step at a time. Not by fighting Windmills of our mind..

Voting is what gives people rights and to discount that is making steps towards a dictatorial view point or were a few decide the rights of others. If one wants right then it is the duty to educate and change the minds and gain the support to change the laws and give rights to a oppressed group. Civil rights would not have happened hadn't Northern states and a large population demanded the changes take place.
Voting is never a bad thing in my mind. Even if it goes against my wishes. There is always another day and another vote and maybe one can educate and teach that freedom is never wrong.

While I see this as a brave and valiant effort, I believe that certain stipulations need to be included. As a transwoman of long-standing, I have seen far too many people make a rush to judgement as to what the priorities are. I don't think that any change in identifications should be allowed until some personal landmarks have been achieved.

The person in question should be documented, by medical professionals, as having reached certain transitional milestones. They should have been full-time for a period of time. They cannot be convicted felons. They should have been on hormones and, most importantly, they should be employed. Too many of us turn to sex work as a means to survival which is really counter intuitive the the intent of the HBSoC, which I strongly believe in.

And while I know that my opinion will spark some outrage, I have seen enough crash and burn victims to know that if you try and shortcut the process, you are way more likely to fail. At that point, having that all-too-desired change on your gender marker is moot.

Marja Erwin | March 22, 2011 1:15 AM

In other words, you want to prevent your less privileged sisters, or should I say your oppressed sisters, from getting proper legal documentation.

How the hell do you explain that to yourself?

Do you think trans people choose to have twice the unemployment rate of cis people? Do you think trans people of color choose to have four times the average?

Do you think people doing survival work should have chosen to die? Do you think people arrested for walking while trans, railroaded, and convicted of felony "crimes against nature" in Louisiana don't deserve human rights?

What is with the victim-blaming in this country?

So your sex depends on whether you've been convicted of a felony or not.

How... eccentric.... I give it full marks for originality though. Why not also require that they be born on a day not starting with T, and not in a leap year?

"Proper ID is essential for full participation in society"

Maybe someone should tell Obama he needs a real birth certificate.

"Maybe someone should tell Obama he needs a real birth certificate."

Are you friggin' kidding me? This is a reality-based blog, Jeff.

lol, I got a new birth certificate with my new gender issued to me before having sex reassignment surgery or even living full time as a woman yet, a couple months after starting transitioning. This was in the midwest USA too. It hasn't hurt anyone, and all its done is allow me to get a job and live life without a hassle. There is no downside to allowing this. A lot of trans people never have surgery, its dumb to require it.

What state was that from, CotoBoto?

Minnesota.

Also I must say all you people whining about not letting them get it changed- come the hell on... It literaly hurts no one. At all. You can barely even come up with a theoretical situation where it does. I mean about the worst anyone can say is "maybe they aren't ready" so if not, they made a mistake and if they go back, get it changed back. This is an idiotic argument to be having. If the people saying this had thier way, I couldn't have gotten my bc changed. If I couldn't have gotten it changed well.. I don't even want to think what it would have been like when i started looking for work, if they looked up my SS# and it said 'male'. They would be confused and weirded out and i doubt i would get hired. But as it is? I get a job, none of them know im trans. Everyone is happy.

Where the hell is the problem with any of this again?

Allowing anyone to change the gender on their birth certificate can be abused by terrorist and criminals. I think the money would be better spent helping poor tans-girls get their SRS.

Why would a criminal go to the trouble of pretending to be trans? What are you talking about?

People can already change the gender on their birth certificate (and driver's license and passport). Whatever "abuse" you think might happen should already be happening.

"Most cannot afford these procedures, and for many, they are medically inappropriate."

Not being able to afford the procedure does not invalidate the need for the surgery,as for the procedure being medical inappropriate if that is the case then they have no business changing genders to begin with. For if they aren't Gender Identity Dysphoric they shouldn't need to be living in the opposite gender nor do they deserve the right to change official documents.

"By refusing to give transgender people accurate birth certificates that reflect who they are, the city subjects transgender people to harassment and discrimination in areas like employment where ID is essential to proving eligibility to work." Uh they do have document for the gender they truly are giving them new birth certificates would be falsify documentations.

As long as the city discriminates against transgender people by denying them accurate ID, transgender people will continue to be pushed to the margins of society."
Uh excuse me but having a fetish of cding, or being transgender doesn't deserve legal rights in my opinion ONLY those who follow the SOC and are diagnosis as GID should have legal assistant in changing legal documents and be allowed to change birth certificates IMHO

Once upon a time transsexualism was understood to be a person born with genital sex opposite to brain sex. It was also understood that such a birth condition was accompanied by that person’s innate and unrelenting pursuit of physical correction. With the advent of transgenderism, however, the facts were lost or, more accurately —hijacked. Yes, they’ve stolen our ID. If we believe the transgender mantra, transsexuals are now transgenders, though sometimes it is presented as the other way around. Well, never mind, we are all supposed to be the same. And the mix is astonishing: transvestites, cross-dressers, drag queens, she-males,husbands who live as women — either full or part time — while remaining married to their wives (I’ll never understand that!), and the list goes on.......Somewhere in that mix is the forlorn transsexual, the victim of identity theft.

" ...as for the procedure being medical inappropriate if that is the case then they have no business changing genders to begin with."

That is a remarkably shortsighted, ill-informed, and judgemental position. There are people who are not surgical candidates for any surgeries because of other physical condition(s). That does not alter the legitmacy of their gender identity.

I don't know who you think you are to judge anyone else's life. You don't get a vote on who gets to transition, fortunately.

rapid butterfly | March 22, 2011 7:38 AM

SRS is *medically contraindicated* for some people who are 100% compliant with the SOC (GID dx, one year-plus successful RLT, etc. etc.) but who may, for physical reasons, not be good candidates for a major surgery like SRS.

The rest of your post, such as your inability to understand that lesbian transsexual women exist and are as valid as women as straight transsexual women, is so clearly designed to bait as to be beyond comment. And of course I will leave aside the financial hardship many 100% SOC transsexual women (and transsexual men) have in trying to afford SRS.

I'll be watching these suits carefully.

brandigirl | March 22, 2011 9:40 AM

@ rapid butterfly You stated SRS is *medically contraindicated* for some people who are 100% compliant with the SOC (GID dx, one year-plus successful RLT, etc. etc.) but who may, for physical reasons, not be good candidates for a major surgery like SRS.

While there are those who have a gid diagnosis and aren't candidates for surgery because of health reasons that's a very very small percentage of a already small amount of individuals and of the "true" TS population and I agree some arrangement should be made for those people,but this effort is aimed at the mainstream transgender wannabe Horde and is trying to help those social deconstructionist in their efforts to force a third gender upon society. This is a pure and simple assault upon the SOC guidelines and upon society by the Transgender community simple because society won't buy into their fantasy and accept a third gender as they'd like. Of course I preference this with the belief that those having been diagnosis as GID “ AREN'T “ part of the transgender community and therefore aren't included for I think full assistant and ;legal rights should be giving those who truly have a legitimate birth condition, however I do not advocate any rights being given to those who go off on their own and do whatever the hell they choose without the counseling or therapy.

You also stated "The rest of your post, such as your inability to understand that lesbian transsexual women exist and are as valid as women as straight transsexual women," As for your Assumption that I am not aware of TS Lesbian women you are incorrect being that I am one myself, but the fact remains that before one can be a "Lesbian" one must first have a vagina for NO true Lesbian gives two hoot's about a penis....I too will being watching very closely as this suit goes down in flames and sets a precedent that ONLY those whom have mean the guidelines will be allowed to change birth certificates...period.

Jeanne Smith | March 22, 2011 11:32 AM

Thank you.... I am glad you said this so clearly, I was about to go on a rant about the fairy tale appropriateness of "Once upon a time" in the post to which you have comment.

As long as elitist transsexuals continue to discriminate against those on the Harry Benjamin Scale (HBS) not transsexual 6 or transexual 5, then the T in GLBT will always be fractured. It would be the same as if Lesbian and Gay could never get beyond name calling and attacking each other.

It does seem that in my lifetime we will never get beyond the gender binary. I am understood medically as HBS TS4. I am squarely in the middle. I believe a good legal argument could be made for me to be legally recognized at T on my birth certificate on scientific terms, but to get that legal designation there would just mean a lifetime of the same fight over and over and over.

BTW, I don't think that anyone transgender has any more choice than does the transsexual who wrote. I know I tried everything I could think of for 55 years to hide and to rid myself of this. Changing to match my soul was eventually my best option. I sometimes ask transsexuals with her attitude why it is better to change your body than to change your clothes. I am 3 years on hormones, but recognize this is what I had to do. It is not better, it is me and my solution. Transgender persons need to respect themselves, respect their community, be respectable and respectful for the situation and request or demand respect from society. I think this suit does that.

I could say "do not feed the troll", as the comments from this writer always say the same thing, regardless of the site, regardless of the subject.

I could also say that the ignorance shown is astounding. The privilege likewise.

I could also point out that there are many Intersexed people, who transition to correct a surgeon's mistake when they were 3 months old, but who because they are Intersexed cannot be diagnosed with either Transsexuality (under the ICD-10) or GID (under the DSM-IV-TR). The sheer thoughtlessness and complete lack of empathy shown here is nauseating.

However, under the Terms of Service, I am not permitted to say that the writer is a complete failure as a human being, a heap of ambulatory offal whose sick venom has polluted nearly every site that hasn't banned it yet. So I won't.

Because if it's true, it's obvious and doesn't need saying.

Speaking of unintended consequences what happens if this case is lost and then unheld on appeal? It sets a legal precedent, and in IMHO, rightly so.

A B/C describes SEX, morphological, PHYSICAL sex. For the 'gender challenged" that means that "thingie" between your legs. "Innie"= F.
"Outie" = M.

Except that in addition to medical evidence that surgery had been completed, the city also demanded:

... a detailed post-operative surgery report, a psychiatric evaluation, a surgical operative record and a post-operative examination signed by a doctor.
Exactly what has a "psychiatric evaluation" got to do with the legal requirement that they be satisfied that surgery had been performed?

So much for it being about facts regarding body configuration. It's very obvious that this is a pretext for denying change, as the additional costs in gathering this data could be immense. If surgery was performed overseas, some of it may not even be obtainable. And there's nothing to say that the demanded data would be deemed sufficient, they could always ask for 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions etc.

Then of course there are cases like these:
http://www.usrf.org/news/010308-guevedoces.html

NYC, with a large Dominican Republic minority present, might double the average rate, so there could be up to 500 such cases, and certainly over 100.

Cheerleading for this suit from the west coast! I'm assuming this just affects New York State law, correct?

I'm curious, actually. What states right now require surgery? Are there states that do not? Is the state requirement based on state where the birth took place or where the person is currently living?

I may have had my surgery already, and therefore it doesn't affect me, but I stand with my brothers and sisters who can't get or do not need surgery, because I think it's the right thing to do. Going to be watching this unfold.

New York City has a separate bureau for their birth certificates from the state. The New York City and New York State bureaus have different standards for allowing a sex marker change on birth certificates. From what I've read, some of the New York City standards are based on custom and are not specified in the written regulations.

From what I'm reading I believe the suit is against the NYC Office of Vital Records and not against the state's Department of Health.

I think there should be reasonable milestones established before issueing a corrected birth certificate. Reasonable in that the poorest can meet them without causing them to much financial stress but enough that they have to show some effort to meet them. Many cities and I would hope New York City would be one of them provide places where low income people can gain access to low cost legally prescribed hormones. That should be the first step. Second step should be a legal name change appropriate for gender presentation. My cost DIY was 185.00 and it wasn't difficult to do.Third step they should have a letter from both a licensed Pcychiatrist and a licensed psychologist recomending the gender marker change. Again that shouldn't be to difficult to obtain with a reasonable amount of effort. Requiring reasonable steps will help reduce the public outcry over it and adds a protective barrier for those who think they're TS then detransition. It will also act as an insurance to protect T people by protecting against someone trying it for the wrong reasons and having it reflect poorly on all of us.

Good luck to TLDEF for starting this important procedure. The German and Austrian constitutional courts struck down similar requirements recently, citing human rights, non-discrimination and advanced knowledge about trans issues (and especially the non-existence of strict gender binaries) as reasons.

http://priyosudibyo.staff.fisip.uns.ac.id/files/2010/05/2007-transgender-and-public-policy.pdf

This is a good paper on the subject of marriage and birth certificates. There is a table on page 838 that categorizes the sort of laws on record for each state allowing birth certificate amendment. I think all of them require SRS. The article says there are only 24 that have explicit laws. I think those might be the same states that are categorized further down not allowing marriage between a post operative transsexual person with another transsexual person of their birth sex assignment or a person assigned opposite to their birth assignment. The are other tables in this paper detailing the marriage situation state by state in the U S, anti-discrimination legislation and hate crime legislation.

Above and below the table on pg 838 the article discusses the situation in NYC. What the TLDEF is trying to accomplish was attempted in 2006. Here is a brief history I copied from the article. As stated below, there are other concerns for transsexual people beyond marriage:

the transition that matters most”(as cited in, Cave, 2006). Although sup-
ported by many activists because sex reassignment is costly and often
unavailable, the proposal drew heavy criticism from institutional stake-
holders such as hospitals, jails, and schools (Yoshino, 2006). These insti-
tutions rely on sex classification, but they were not consulted during the
rule-making process. In addition, the proposal might have conflicted with

that would have permitted a transgender individual to amend his or her birth
certificate provided (Yoshino, 2006):
• He or she had undergone a legal name change
• Lived in the acquired gender for at least 2 years
• Submitted two affidavits (from qualified medical and psychological pro-
fessionals) that demonstrated full transition and its intended permanence
The guidelines did not require sex reassignment surgery. City health com-
missioner Thomas R. Frieden justified the new policy by stating that
“surgery versus nonsurgery can be arbitrary. . . . It’s the permanence of

existing state policy and proposed federal guidelines. In response to
public and institutional outcry, Commissioner Frieden admitted that the
board “hadn’t thought through” the proposal’s implications (Yoshino,
2006). Subsequently, the board scuttled the original proposal and settled
for an incremental improvement to the existing policy. It allowed postop-
erative transsexuals to amend their birth certificates to show the acquired
sex (Yoshino, 2006).
Taylor / Transgender Identity and Public Policy 839

As a requirement for a diversity school project I would like try my hand in your blog. I am a heterosexual man of 31 living in Massachusetts. I serve in the military and my wife in the lab of a pharmaceutical company close by. Recently she has explained to me that an executive that she works for has recently come out to the company that she would like to be known as a man and has been living as so outside the workplace. To say the least, this is the most direct way as to experience diversity in the workplace. This individual has done nothing wrong and spoke with the company as to how to introduce the idea the she would like to known as he. A person choice and your right if you so choose. But I have to ask,... if an individual seeking to reassign themselves in a workplace where they are already known as one sex and then suddenly would like to be known as the other, how do you personally handle the (slips of the name) or the personal interaction (which will be Definitely different) from colleague's and subordinate workers? Please don't get me wrong. I like all people believe in treating people they way they wish to be treated, but find myself pondering what I would do or act like on a day to day basis when faced with this type of not so common issue.
Oh and for the record, I am glad DADT has been repealed. I know quite a few people whom are gay or lesbian currently serving and believe that after a short period of adjustment (which is how we get things done) this will never be a topic for discussion again.

The best way to avoid slip ups with pronouns and the like is to do your best to forget he was a woman in the past. In reality, he wasn't ever a woman, he just looked like one. This will take time and people will make a mistake now and then and most trans people won't get upset as long as they can see it was an honest mistake. Another piece of advice on pronouns, etc., is to not make a big deal about it if you do make the error by apologizing profusely. Making a big deal about it just highlights the issue too much.

The other expectation most trans people have is that pronoun and name errors decrease over time. I have a friend who is kind and supportive and, after 3½ years of living as my true self still refers to me with male pronouns. Even though it does hurt, I put up with it when she and her husband visit my home or I theirs but I always avoid being out in public with her. I am unwilling to risk being outed by her in public.

The rule of thumb, I would say, is to treat a trans person as if they have always been their target sex. How you manage that is really up to you. Thanks very much for asking!

As a requirement for a diversity school project I would like try my hand in your blog. I am a heterosexual man of 31 living in Massachusetts. I serve in the military and my wife in the lab of a pharmaceutical company close by. Recently she has explained to me that an executive that she works for has recently come out to the company that she would like to be known as a man and has been living as so outside the workplace. To say the least, this is the most direct way as to experience diversity in the workplace. This individual has done nothing wrong and spoke with the company as to how to introduce the idea the she would like to known as he. A person choice and your right if you so choose. But I have to ask,... if an individual seeking to reassign themselves in a workplace where they are already known as one sex and then suddenly would like to be known as the other, how do you personally handle the (slips of the name) or the personal interaction (which will be Definitely different) from colleague's and subordinate workers? Please don't get me wrong. I like all people believe in treating people they way they wish to be treated, but find myself pondering what I would do or act like on a day to day basis when faced with this type of not so common issue.
Oh and for the record, I am glad DADT has been repealed. I know quite a few people whom are gay or lesbian currently serving and believe that after a short period of adjustment (which is how we get things done) this will never be a topic for discussion again.

I was born in Framingham and grew up in a few different towns Natick,Hopkinton and Ashland.While not quite the same as transitioning on the job I transitioned between semesters at college. I was a pretty well known student involved in a couple of groups to include the honors society. Just pryor to the end of the fall semester I confided to some people that I knew that I would most likely transition over the winter break.They were all supportive and I informed the school that I would be returning transistioned and asked if they would arrange for me to be addressed by my female name while I awaited the legal name change.They were happy to inform my instructors of the situation and so everything was pre arranged.I also provided them a copy of my carry letter, a letter from my therapist explaining that I was transitioning and that I should be afforded all the rights of a woman. I returned to school and was overwelmed by the amount of support I received. There were very few incidents and they were minor. Some people were iniatially shocked but they quickly got over it and I did my best to not make a big deal about it.I allowed people to ask questions and if they asked me a question I thought was inappropriate I let them know that and explained why it was. Asking someone if they had the operation or are planning to is kind of tacky and not really appropriate. There were very few slip ups with my name and so far no one has tried to address me by my old name on purpose. Personally I think it improved my social interaction because I was happier and I didn't feel like I had to hide something anymore. I also think people are for the most part kinder to me. I think for you it is okay to be a bit uncertain by the idea of a coworker transitioning especially if you had no indication that they might be different then they appear.I think as you adjust to the person post transition in time you'll come to accept them for who they are and you should see a happier more productive person. I would recomend you allow someone in the instance that you should happen to have a coworker or subordinate transition to choose to label themselves as Transsexual or Transgender. I am also a military Vet I just wish on top of repealing DADT they would allow TS and TG identified people to serve openly as well. Hope this helps and that others will share their experiences with you.

Here is the NY Times article on the press conference. Well worth a read.

@Brandigirl, this is why the lawsuits (mine was actually started in 2009, when I was representing myself) include plaintiffs who have different circumstances. I'm the example of the individual who strongly *wants* to have SRS, and otherwise qualifies, but can't have it because of multiple medical conditions that make me a bad surgery risk. Each of the other plaintiffs also represent a different situation. There is also another case, brought separately (and completely independently!) by Yetta Kurland's law firm this week, with still another plaintiff, a trans man.

The key factor right now is that my original proceeding survived the City's motion to dismiss last summer - on the basis of having a valid cause of action on the issue of the City's regulation being "arbitrary and capricious."

I am so glad that I'm not handling this on a pro-se basis by myself any more (I know my limitations, and I am not a litigation lawyer) - and that the resources of TLDEF and the pro bono lawyers who have been pitching in, are going to bring this to a hopefully successful conclusion.